Harrison LLP

Steven M. Dawson


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Steve Dawson

Steven Dawson’s practice focuses on sophisticated trust and estate planning for closely held business owners, business executives, and other high-net-worth individuals and families. He represents clients in matters ranging from wealth transfer planning, estate and gift tax matters, planned charitable giving, and trust modifications to pre-marital planning and post-death administration of trusts and estates. 

Steven designs and prepares basic estate planning documents, including wills, revocable trusts, and financial and health care powers of attorney; designs and implements sophisticated wealth transfer techniques, including gifts to irrevocable family trusts, installment sales to grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs), and qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs); and works  with executors, trustees, and beneficiaries on the funding, administration, taxation, and distribution of estates and trusts.

On behalf of trustees, he has assisted with judicial and non-judicial modifications of irrevocable trusts using non-judicial settlement agreements, virtual representation agreements, trust decanting, trust mergers, and trust divisions. 

He also assists business owners and their families with succession plans to transfer ownership and management of closely held businesses in a tax-efficient manner; helps families shift business interests, real estate, and other appreciating assets to trusts for their descendants in a tax-efficient manner; structure family limited partnerships and limited liability companies; and assists clients with planned charitable giving, including the creation of charitable trusts and the formation and qualification of private foundations.

He has obtained private letter rulings from the IRS on estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax matters. He often prepares, reviews, and files Form 709 federal gift tax returns and Form 706 federal estate tax returns.

Steven is active in several professional organizations, including the Illinois State Bar Association, Trusts & Estates Section Council; Saint Louis University Bequest and Gift Council; Estate Planning Council of St. Louis; and Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). He is also a member of the board of directors of Edwardsville (Illinois) Community Foundation. 



Saint Louis University, J.D.,cum laude, 1997 

Saint Louis University, B.S.,magna cum laude, 1994 

Illinois State Bar Association, Trusts & Estates Section Council  

Saint Louis University Bequest and Gift Council 

Edwardsville (Illinois) Community Foundation, Board of Directors 

American Bar Association – Real Property, Probate and Trust Section; Taxation 

Missouri Bar Association 

Illinois State Bar Association 

Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis 

Estate Planning Council of St. Louis 

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Member 

Leading Lawyers Network (2022) 

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